Pharmaceutical companies are rapidly changing their advertising and marketing tactics and channels, according to an eMarketer study.
There is a "shift in focus from 'direct-to-consumer' to 'direct-to-patient,' from mass marketing to relationship marketing," says Lisa E. Phillips, senior analyst and author of the new report "Pharmaceuticals Online: Direct-to-Patient Becomes a Reality." The shift is the result of changes in consumer behavior and attitudes toward healthcare, coupled with government and self-regulatory pressures, she says.
eMarketer projects that pharmaceutical and healthcare internet spending will increase from $625 million in 2005 to $835 million this year, as marketers shift to more targeted opportunities that the web offers. Within two years, online advertising spend is expected to reach $1.41 billion, or some six percent of the estimated $23.5 billion in total internet advertising spend in 2008.
Health-focused portals are poised to become the next big vertical market online, according to eMarketer. Moreover, pharmaceutical companies are moving beyond branded drug sites to building online communities centered on various health conditions.